The 23-year-old has been signed to a two-year contract with a base salary of $925,000 and a series of bonuses.
As we reported, Vesey was initially drafted by the Nashville Predators at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. The Predators were hoping to sign him when his season at Harvard ended in March, but it was not to be and his rights were traded to the Buffalo Sabres in June. The Sabres have exclusive negotiating rights with Vesey until Tuesday, at which point he became an unrestricted free agent.
The Massachusetts native met with a reported seven teams earlier in the week, including the Rangers, Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Toronto Maple Leafs. Islanders captain John Tavares, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane were among those contacting him in hopes of greasing the wheels.
In the end, the Rangers won the sweepstakes and picked up the NCAA star and 2016 Hobey Baker Award winner.
In 33 games as a senior with Harvard last season, Vesey had 46 points – including 24 goals and 22 assists. He’ll hit training camp with designs on making the Rangers’ top nine forwards, where reports are that he’ll be a likely fit with Derek Stepan or Mika Zibanejad. His presence will help give the team a further offensive boost, as they finished seventh in league scoring last year with 2.84 goals per game.
Vesey won’t make boatloads of money with the Rangers just yet, although there’s certainly nothing slight about making just under four million a year if he maxes out his bonuses. But things could grow considerably between team and player, especially if the hype turns out to be more than hype.
Vesey is projected as a skilled passer and a big winger with an understanding of the game. He’s a threat in the offensive zone and can play a physical game, although the book on him suggests some improvement is needed in that area.
Regardless, the Rangers have their man and Vesey has made his decision. Love it or hate it, the drama is over.